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Last Update: Wednesday February 26, 2020

Key Idea: Validation and Piracy

Maggie Sanchez of Microsoft says that one in five copies of software in the US are pirated.

Key Question:


Make sure that you respect the intellectual property of others.


How can you clean up your act?

We think Mark Litvack put it perfectly: if you can't tell your spouse and your children what you did today you should probably change your behavior. Maggie Sanchez explained how you can visit to verify if the software running on your PC is authentic or pirated. Microsoft does not know who you are when you go to this site so nabbing you is not the goal of the "Genuine Advantage Program." The goal is to educate you.

If you bought your PCs from a local systems' integrator there is a strong chance that your software is pirated. You should go to the owner of the business and ask for the certificate verifying that your software is authentic.

If you have a technologists on your payroll or one you turn to for consulting, tell them that you do not want to run your business on stolen software. Be clear that you are willing to pay the price to run authentic programs. In general, this will not cost you more money and you will join the owners like Bob Tarcea who are playing by the rules.

Think about it

Do you know for sure that you are running on authentic software? If not, when will you stop and find out? What will you do if you discover that you are using pirated software?

Clip from: Protect Your Intellectual Property (IP)

Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Seattle: Economies grow when money is transacted for something of value. Theft kills economies and IP theft is a real pandemic.

Lying, cheating and stealing has been going on forever. But now, the other IP (Internet Protocol) has made it so easy to steal, our children and all sorts of decent-loving-gentle people think nothing about "borrowing, using, enjoying" and otherwise ripping off somebody's creative work.

In this episode of the show we visit with the lawyers who argued down Grokster in the U.S. Supreme Court. We visit with a small business owner who is being ripped off, a composer who is figuring it out, and technologists who are waging the war to protect our intellectual assets.

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Microsoft. Inc. (MS)

Maggie Sanchez, General Manager, Windows Client Business

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Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1975

Validation and Piracy

MAGGIE: Piracy is not just a phenomena in undeveloped markets. It is actually a problem in our home market in the United States.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Maggie Sanchez is Microsoft's General Manager for the Windows client business in the U.S.

MAGGIE: Software piracy is really about misuse at the end of the day. It's the perfect word to encapsulate what software piracy is. It's about the illegal sale and distribution of software. The piracy problem in small business is actually larger than the broader piracy problem across all business segments. It is approximately 1 in 5 of all PCs are pirated and for small business it is slightly higher than that. So it is a very significant problem.

GEORGE: Just as they wouldn't want the product or service they offer to be taken from them they shouldn't be taking other people's software. You really can't say anything beyond that--at that level. That's not even a creativity issue. It's just basic business ethics.

HATTIE: Why do you think people do it? Steal software -- I mean adults who are trying to run a business?

GEORGE: Probably because it's easy to do.

MARK: As an adult, if you're running a business, ask yourself when you do something, would I want my mother and father to know what I am doing. Or, as a parent, can I go home at night and tell my kids what I did today? Am I proud of it? In terms of intellectual property as well, if you can't, I suggest you don't do it. If you feel comfortable going home and saying to your kids, what did I do today? Well, I stole a couple things from Microsoft and I took some stuff from Oracle. Stole a movie or two. You don't want to go home and tell your kids. You don't want to tell your spouse. You don't want to tell your parents.

MAGGIE: As a matter of fact, many small business owners are unaware. They do not know that they are using pirated software. Which is why I said earlier, one of the key pillars is to educate as much as possible. Microsoft has a new program called The Windows Genuine Advantage which is all about providing small business customers with tools to determine if they have genuine software or not. It is a "how to tell" program.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Bob runs his office on Microsoft and he showed us how quickly validated his system. In the Microsoft lab, I tested a computer that did not have authentic software. This is what you'll see if your software is not genuine.

MAGGIE: There have been millions and millions of users that have validated during the course of the past few months. On average we're seeing about 350,000 validations per day. So we're really excited by the response and encourage every small business owner to go and validate today.

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